Gmail is here

The University’s shift to Gmail will give students a complex, superior webmail application.

Students at the University of Minnesota will soon see the option to get a much more functional webmail application. The University Google Initiative Team recently announced plans to give students the option to use GoogleâÄôs Gmail webmail program for their University e-mail, instead of the limited Gophermail system. Gophermail, which was the only option offered for webmail at the University, is too basic, lacking many of the features of its online counterparts. But now Gmail, in conjunction with other free Google products such as Google Talk, Docs and Calendar, will give great potential for future technology at the University as well as greatly expand on what is being offered. Security issues have been said to be a concern for the switch. Critics of the move say that moving usersâÄô information to GoogleâÄôs servers could pose an issue. Moreover, different people from the medical school have shown concern over sending private data over commercial servers such as GoogleâÄôs. Yet the benefits of switching to Google outweigh potential pitfalls. Security issues will be a nonissue as large companies such as Google define the word âÄúsecurityâÄù in sorts. If faculty fear sending sensitive data over commercial servers, they probably should not be sending the data over email in the first place. Gmail is a highly complex webmail application capable of much more than what Gophermail can offer. This partnership between Google and the University will benefit every student, and we urge the University to look to further increase their partnership with software companies in the goal of offering quality software to students, staff and faculty. This move with Google, along with the existing Microsoft Campus Agreement, makes great software available at studentsâÄô fingertips, which is most important.